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Old 05-21-2007, 12:09 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by After a brisk nap View Post
Maybe you could post the sprites to the AGS Critics Lounge. You might be able to tweak them in a way that makes them more appealing to people while staying true to the style.
Here's another version altogether. Thoughts?

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Old 05-21-2007, 03:05 PM   #22
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Hmm.. I even like the one you posted first better than this latest version. But I STILL like the original characters so much more. They're so organic and fun - very cartoony and stylish like a Disney cartoon.

Here's the wallpaper I made from your original background and the characters you had on your previous site. I made a new logo and stuck it on there. Hope you don't mind.

I agree with everyone though. This is YOUR game and you need to be happy with it. I can totally relate to that. Whichever you choose, I am sure the game will still be fantastic. Nothing beats these gorgeous background graphics. I love them.

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Old 05-21-2007, 03:27 PM   #23
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Let me just say that I know absolutely nothing about animation, but I wanted to add my two cents.

I really dislike the newest version (in fact it's my least favorite of the three sprite sets I've seen so far). Jake's limbs seems oddly angled and too flexible (rather like Plastic Man), his face lacks detailed features, and his beard is too bright of a yellow to be a realistic shade. It looks like a quick animation test rather than a finalized sprite.

I personally rather liked the sprites posted at the start of this thread. The style was charming and cartoony, while at the same time full of detail and life. I loved Jake's squint, an animated version of the classic Eastwood look.

The old sprites are good as well: I wouldn't mind seeing them in the game, either. Of course, they appear to have had scaling issues when placed in the backgrounds, so I can understand why you wanted to make new ones.

If I had to choose between the first two sets of sprites I'd go with the ones you posted a few days ago. As you said, their cartoony style matches well with the backgrounds, while the original sprites were more realistic in nature. (The comparison reminds me of FoA and CMI: neither game would look "right" if its backgrounds were combined with the other one's sprites.)

I do realize that the second sprite set was finely detailed and would've taken intensive effort to produce en masse, so I understand why you switched to the new style. Still, I think if you do draw the sprites in the manner shown in your latest post, you should work to include more facial detail and avoid excessively rubbery limbs.
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Old 05-21-2007, 04:58 PM   #24
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Quote:
It looks like a quick animation test rather than a finalized sprite.
Well, that it is.

Quote:
I personally rather liked the sprites posted at the start of this thread. The style was charming and cartoony, while at the same time full of detail and life. I loved Jake's squint, an animated version of the classic Eastwood look. If I had to choose between the first two sets of sprites I'd go with the ones you posted a few days ago.
I'm still trying to get around the pixelation issue. The game's intended to be played at 800x600 pixels, and I'm having a hard time finding the right balance whenever I use pixel animations; at that resolution you can really see the pixels, which look bad against these painted backgrounds. On the other hand, Flash-ized sprites tend to be too cartoony.

Anyways, thanks for the feedback everyone. We're getting there.
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Old 05-21-2007, 11:20 PM   #25
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My 2 cents.. I like new sprites MUCH better than original. Great work! They have more personality and are, in general, a lot more fun to look at.
The latest (blond bearded one) though, is a bit less appealing.

As for Flash and "cartoony" look- true, most rely on clean cartoony look and simple coloring, because it's the fastest to animate, but beside that i don't really see any limitations that would prevent you from doing more serious look in Flash.

Last edited by Igor; 05-21-2007 at 11:38 PM.
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Old 05-21-2007, 11:41 PM   #26
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Make Max more furry and less 3D!

...oops, sorry, wrong discussion.
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Old 05-22-2007, 12:44 AM   #27
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I think that you should go with the original sprites, I know that it would take longer to animate, but your hardwork would payoff greatly.

Without a struggle the caterpillar can't transform into a beautiful butterfly.
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Old 05-22-2007, 04:34 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dasilva View Post
Without a struggle the caterpillar can't transform into a beautiful butterfly.
LOLOLOL!!! hahahaa!
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Old 05-22-2007, 06:24 AM   #29
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Quote:
Without a struggle the caterpillar can't transform into a beautiful butterfly.
Er.... um.... nope, I won't make a joke, that's too profound.

Thanks for your feedback, everyone. Opinions are duly noted and I'm on to the next, hopefully final, iteration -- which, of course, I'll post here for your abuse... I mean, opinions.

Cheers,
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Old 05-22-2007, 11:57 AM   #30
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And now for something completely different: Jake, iteration 19 1/2, looking very similar to an earlier version (only in Flash this time!)



p.s. Eriq, I love the logo.
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Old 05-22-2007, 12:42 PM   #31
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I like the expression in his eyes, and his stance. Looking good!

I'm curious how the woman looks

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Old 05-22-2007, 01:05 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chapter11studios View Post
And now for something completely different: Jake, iteration 19 1/2, looking very similar to an earlier version (only in Flash this time!)



p.s. Eriq, I love the logo.
Its good, but it lacks detail, try and add those strips to his shirt & shading like in the old sprite.
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Old 05-22-2007, 03:54 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by chapter11studios View Post



p.s. Eriq, I love the logo.
Ahhh. Now THAT I like. It's a good mix. Are you going to add some shadowing as in your first post characters? That extra detail looked really good. This is cool because he's got the best of both.
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Old 05-22-2007, 07:09 PM   #34
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I like the new version a lot: it combines some of the best of all the previous sprites. Still, a bit of shading wouldn't go amiss.

I'd like to see how you'd draw the girl outlaw in this style, as well.
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Old 05-24-2007, 11:24 AM   #35
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I like this new version the best, although I liked the 2nd version, too. Some Batman The Animated Series style shading might look nice too.
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Old 05-25-2007, 04:05 AM   #36
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I like the latest version of the face (esp. the eyes) much better. The body isn't as dynamic as some of the intermediate sprites, and looks a bit boring by comparison. You're definitely getting there. The head from the last one with the body from the next-to-last would satisfy me completely.

I'd also like to compliment you on your continued efforts to explore possible styles and improve the look. You don't have to implement all our suggestions, but the more different things you try the better the final result will be.
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Old 05-25-2007, 09:23 AM   #37
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Quote:
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The head from the last one with the body from the next-to-last would satisfy me completely.
I aim to satisfy completely, Brisk.

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Old 06-05-2007, 12:36 AM   #38
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After much consideration about the various merits of several different animation styles, I've decided to go back to the original semi-realistic, non-cartoonish, non-Flash-ish, non-pixel-pushing look of the characters. Here's your first look at Mary Jane Clayton, puuuurtiest cowgirl bandit in the Wild West!



Note: There are still a few color tweaks necessary, but this is very close to final so I've decided to share it. As you can see, she very closely resembles the character's original design from our promotional poster.



p.s. Jake's eight-direction walk cycle is basically done, and now we're working on some of the basic in-game animations like picking up an object, shooting his gun, etc. I'm saving the unveiling of his sprite for my next (and final) Adventure Architect column, though.
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Old 06-05-2007, 12:39 AM   #39
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Love It!
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Old 06-09-2007, 06:25 AM   #40
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One of the major tasks I've set for myself prior to the release of episode one is establishing artistic consistency from screen to screen and within environments as a whole.

Thus, a lot of game areas that were initially conceived and painted as standalone 800x600 game screens are being converted into more organic scrolling environments that give the whole game a more modern, unified feel.

Another issue I'm addressing is consistency of painting styles between the different artists who contributed to episode one. For example, in some screens the underlying pencil work is really obvious, i.e. the colorist allowed all of the pencil shading to show through. In other screens, the colorist totally painted over the pencil strokes and the end result is much different, to the point where you can barely tell it was originally conceived as a paper-and-pencil drawing that was later scanned and painted.

And because that's a lot of text, here's some visuals to help explain. This is what the old version of a scene (two unique screens at 800x600 each) looked like:



And here's that scene reimagined to take advantage of the AGS engine's scrolling functions and painted over to establish consistent color treatments throughout:



This also gives me the chance to make some tiny little corrections and additions that I've wanted to do for a while. For example, when I designed this crossroads screen I hadn't yet come up with a design for the town off in the distance. Thus, the town appears very generic in the original screen, whereas in the new screen it actually matches the look and layout of the town, which you'll get to explore in episode two.

Another little detail: The cactus that now appears at the bottom of the crossroads scene is based on an actual cactus I came across while hiking in the Grand Canyon a few years ago:



Although making all of these changes may push back the release of episode one a little, I think you'll agree it will be well worth the wait.
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